Last night I watched a really great TED talk by Simon Sinek, called "How Great Leaders Inspire Action." The argument Mr. Sinek makes is that effective leaders inspire change not by focusing on what they do, but by focusing on why they do it. To back up his argument, Sinek cites incredibly influential leaders throughout history, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Wright brothers. These leaders changed the course of history because they focused first on the motivation behind their actions and let the outcomes be a byproduct of that motivation.
The talk ultimately made me think of a young American leader who was recently confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations: Samantha Power. During this time when the UN faces many difficult issues, I can think of no one better to head U.S. leadership at the UN, largely because of the passion Ambassador Power brings to the issues she confronts. President Obama recognizes this passion, and he said in a statement following the Senate confirmation, "As a long-time champion of human rights and dignity, she will be a fierce advocate for universal rights, fundamental freedoms and U.S. national interests." Having been a foreign policy columnist, Ambassador Power has seen human rights abuses, genocide, and war from the frontlines — first-hand experiences that reaffirm her passion for the "responsibility to protect."